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Hyperlocal Rainfall: April progress

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.04.2016

Time: 16.36

Whilst our Hyperlocal Rainfall app is working its way through the final stages of its initial development I thought I would take this opportunity to give a better idea of the concepts and aims behind this project, how we are achieving these, and where we will be taking Hyperlocal Rainfall over the next few months!

The weather is one of the main factors that influences how we choose to travel, and changeable or bad weather can be very off-putting when it comes to walking and cycling places. We believe that there is an opportunity here to minimise the negative influences of the weather by providing more accurate information; because this will give people more confidence in when to travel and how to be properly prepared for the day’s weather, allowing them to choose more active and sustainable options. 

Hyperlocal Rainfall is the first project of its kind to bring together a route-planning tool with hyperlocal (small, localised to a specific area) weather predictions. To be able to make this an effective tool for people to use around Peterborough, our app will be providing rainfall predictions in greater detail than currently available from other services, with predictions every five minutes for the hour ahead compared to the standard one-hour intervals.

To achieve this innovative service we are using a combination of rain radar data and historical weather data with additional real-time information from local weather stations, recently installed on schools across Peterborough. This allows us to see what is happening at many different levels with great accuracy and project partners Meniscus will be able to use their own analytics platform, MAP, to translate it all into our accurate, short-term hyperlocal predictions.

Within the Hyperlocal Rainfall app you will be able to plan your trip with our route planner (using Google Maps), which will then be overlaid with our rainfall predictions for your specific journey. Each journey will be provided with its own personal rainfall predictions that will be adjusted for how you choose to travel and when you will be starting your trip. A great part of the app is the more you take a trip the better it will get at predicting your journey time (improving on Google Maps), so for your regular trips and commutes you will get more personal rainfall predictions.

For more information about how the app will work have a look at our information poster here. By helping to increase the amount of walking and cycling around Peterborough there could be many positive impacts for both the local area and residents alike. There are countless environmental benefits, such as improving local air quality and reducing carbon emissions from lowering congestions, as well as personal benefits in increasing your fitness and wellbeing whilst reducing the risk of many health conditions, such as heart disease.

In the coming months PECT will be providing further information on how walking and cycling more can help you, and providing support to get you started and keep going with active sustainable travel. This will all contribute towards Peterborough become a greener, healthier, and more sustainable city, so watch this space!

We really want to engage with people from Peterborough to help this app be truly reflective of everyone’s needs, so going into the summer months we will be looking for Peterborough residents to get involved in the project again to help us try out and test the app around the city!

This will provide us with important feedback in how the app is working and if there are any further improvements that needs to be made. If this is something you think you would be interested in getting involved with or would like more information about the project, please do get in touch! Email freya.herman@pect.org.uk.

Freya Herman in the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.

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